New Place of Welcome bringing community together

The latest place for people to meet and socialise in a safe place has opened in the Black Country.

Members of Birchills Agenda come together to celebrate the launch of the Place of Welcome
Members of Birchills Agenda come together to celebrate the launch of the Place of Welcome

The newest Place of Welcome officially opened its doors at Talbot House, in Birchills, Walsall, the 20th place to open within the borough since the start of the scheme in 2012.

Birchills Agenda, which runs each Saturday from 10am to 12pm, provides a range of activities and facilities for people to enjoy, including pool and snooker, chess and other activities for youngsters, all run by co-ordinator Shokt Fazal.

The centre also provides tea, coffee and other refreshments for people to enjoy, with Places of Welcome facilitator Carrie Blount describing what made the new place special.

She said: "A lot of the good work here comes down to Shokt, who is a force of nature and runs this place every week.

"The centre is a place that works to bring the different ethnic groups in the borough together and is also a very family-orientated thing, with plenty of activities for children, such as bike riding.

"The park is right next to it, which allows the children to go off bike riding around it, and it's a great place for people to get together."

Ms Blount said the plan for Walsall in the new year was to introduce more Places of Welcome in Walsall and other parts of the Black Country, and spoke about what makes a Place of Welcome.

She said: "The places do go down different routes, with some being craft-based, others being a simple coffee morning and some doing litter picking or gardening or something else.

"The motivation behind it is the people who want to run them and make them work in the community, such as Shokt, who puts himself into everything.

"It's all about bringing people together and being able to feel safe and have fun."

To find out more about the different places on offer, visit placesofwelcome.org.uk

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